ByJames McDonald, writer at
James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.
James McDonald

After a virus born from their combined noxious waste and garbage infects a building’s residents, one by one, they succumb to a terrifying pathogen that turns them into bloodthirsty, rampaging killers and transforms their building into a savage slaughterhouse.

The horror genre is saturated with hackneyed and conventional movies but every now and again, a film comes along that is so original and creative, it instantly elevates it above the mundane and pedestrian titles it is competing against. Unfortunately, “Condemned” is not that movie, far from it. As a matter of fact, writer/director Eli Morgan Gesner utilizes the successful elements from a combination of far-superior movies such as “[Rec],” “28 Days Later,” and even “Shaun of the Dead,” and somehow manages to create a lifeless, unemotional feature that is fraught with unnecessary story exposition and constant but failed attempts at character development, none of which achieve their desired result.

When Maya (Dylan Penn) decides to leave her rich but constantly fighting parents and travel to the city so she can move in with her boyfriend Dante (Ronen Rubinstein), she is initially taken aback when the discovers that his abode is an old, condemned building on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. With the building having closed down in the 1970s and just a small handful of residents illegally living inside for free, the interior turns out to be much better than she anticipated. She meets Dante’s roommates Loki (Honor Titus) and his girlfriend Alexa (Genevieve Hudson-Price) and things appear to be normal for a while but then the residents all start acting strange.

With so much crap being flushed down the pipes, prescription medicine, narcotics, professional strength cleaner, and a drug-dealer who has no earthly idea on how to make his pharmaceutic concoction, flushing his remnants down the toilet, it all collects underneath the foundation and the fumes begin to spread throughout the building, gradually turning each inhabitant into rage-fueled monsters. With Maya and Dante the only remaining survivors, and the front door having been mysteriously locked from the outside, they must both fight off attacking zombies while trying to figure out a means of escape.

The one element I liked was the combination of harsh chemicals being flushed away and instead of flowing into the city sewer, because the building has been condemned for decades, the plumbing obviously doesn’t work so it gathers under the building, causing the inevitable outbreak. Asides from this one aspect, the movie never really tries to disengage itself from its inferior conception and try to better itself as it progresses, instead, it deteriorates from the opening shot and dies a slow and painful death, taking us along with it. With a decent cast and intriguing location, “Condemned” could have been an exceptional indie horror film, as it stands though, it is just another title that will be quickly forgotten about after its release. What a shame.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD January 5th, 2016

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